Brad (fake name) is a sex addict/sex offender currently serving a 9 year prison sentence in federal prison. We have written back and forth for the last couple of years since he first started his sentence.
Brad had been active in the recovery community prior to going to prison. He attended a two-week outpatient intensive and had been in a group for sex offenders, as well as attending 12-step Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings and therapy. Brad is in his 40’s, married with three children.
The need for addicts to connect with other addicts
With the help of his chaplain, Brad has been able to organize some recovery activities to help fellow sex addicts in his prison. Here is part of his recent email (yes, he has email) to me, reprinted with his permission.
“The other guy (Ray) is a friend as well, also about 62 years old. He’s here for a pornography charge as well and I am working with him to get him to see how he’s lying to himself. He makes comments like “I finally get it” or “when John brings those porn images I just laugh and think how ridiculous these are” as he flips through them.
Dave and I (one of my good friends here who is like me, both in serious recovery, supporting one another) often talk about the comments Ray makes about “getting it, finally” and how Ray prays to God and asks God why he’s keeping him here so long, “just give me another chance, God!”. Well, God got to Ray through me!
I heard his rationalizing one too many times and I called him out for a walk on the track. I told him that if we are going to be friends and if we’re going to move forward together, then the lying stops. I will not accept lies. I told him that what he says in BS. Addiction is so powerful and you have to get radical!
He has since told the “picture man” that he doesn’t want to see them anymore. That’s progress. And he shared the story of my confrontation with the whole church the other day. But….he continues to isolate. This is classic behavior as you well know. I can see how he and many others here are prone to isolate and if they do socialize they pick friends that are supportive of their habits.
This is why I plan to start an SAA 12-step group here. I plan to time the start with the end of the class I’m kicking off on 12 Feb. I am a little out of practice with the vernacular of the meetings and such but will plan to read the green book for ideas. I have not heard from the SAA folks and will need to write them a letter. At a minimum I need about 4 green books and some pamphlets on the 3 circles, etc.
I would love to see your work but I don’t know how I’d do that from here. If you have any ideas on how I could get some video material let me know. If SAA has something to sell or donate then I can get the chaplain to request it. Let me know what you think. Keep up the good work and take care,
What I take away from this
Brad is not only using his recovery skills to give himself some meaningful activity, he is also learning new skills in working with sex addicts and supporting his own recovery in the process. He is seeing the mutual value of helping others as well as the need for sex addicts to fight their tendency to isolate. He is also seeing how powerful the delusional thinking around denial can be. And most importantly he is demonstrating that no one can do recovery alone.
What do you take away from Brad’s experiences?